J.S. Bach

Recommended (or not) Recordings

Switched-On Boxed Set

Main Performer
or Conductor:
Wendy Carlos
Individual Works:Disc 1
Switched-On Bach

  • Sinfonia to Cantata BWV 29
  • Air on a G String from Orchestral Suite #3, BWV 1068)
  • Two-Part Invention No. 8 in F major, BWV 779
  • Two-Part Invention No. 14 in B major, BWV 785
  • Two-Part Invention No. 4 in D Minor, BWV 775
  • Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
  • Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue No. 7 in E major, BWV 852
  • Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude and Fugue No. 2 in C minor, BWV 847
  • Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645
  • Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, BWV 1048
    • I -- Allegro
    • II - Adagio (1968 version)
    • III - Allegro

  • Bonus tracks
    • Brandenburg Concerto, Movement II - Adagio (1979 version)
    • Initial Experiments & Demonstration

Disc 2
The Well-Tempered Synthesizer:

  • Monteverdi: Orfeo Suite
  • Scarlatti Sonata in G Major, L. 209/K. 455
  • Scarlatti Sonata in D Major, L. 164/K. 491
  • Handel: Water Music
    • Bourrée
    • Air
    • Allegro Deciso
  • Scarlatti Sonata in E Major, L. 430/K. 531
  • Scarlatti Sonata in D Major, L. 465/K. 96
  • Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 In G Major, BWV 1049
    • I -- Allegro
    • II -- Andante
    • III -- Presto
  • Monteverdi: Domine Ad Adjuvandum From Vespers of 1610)
  • Bonus Tracks:
    • Stereo Alignment Tones
    • Well-Tempered Experiments & Demonstration

Disc 3
Switched-On Bach II

  • Selections from Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor, BWV 1067
    • Badinerie
    • Minuet
    • Bourrée
  • Two-Part Invention No. 13 in A minor, BWV 784
  • Two-Part Invention No. 12 in A major, BWV 783
  • Sheep May Safely Graze from Cantata BWV 208
  • Suite from Anna Magdalena Notebook
  • Bonus track:
  • Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050
    • I - Allegro
    • II - Affettuoso
    • III - Allegro

Disc 4
Switched-On Brandenburgs

  • Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major, BWV 1046
    • I - Allegro
    • II - Adagio
    • III - Allegro
    • IV - Menuuetto, Trio I, Polocca, Trio II
  • Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047
    • I - Allegro
    • II - Andante
    • III - Allegro Assai
  • Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B-Flat Major, BWV 1051
    • I - Allegro
    • II- Adagio ma non tanto
    • III - Allegro
  • enhanced CD files for your computer

Record Label:East Side Digital
Catalog Number:81422
Year Released/Recorded:originally recorded/released: 1968 - 1980
this release: 1999
Related Web Site:http://www.wendycarlos.com/
Comments:Review by Jan Hanford:

Performance: Exquisite
Recording: Astonishing

This re-release of Wendy Carlos' early recordings has been long awaited. At last, these treasures are available in this wonderful boxed set. Wendy Carlos went back to the original master tapes for this collection, producing the most clear and detailed versions yet released. The results are amazing, with sounds and nuances that were not audible on the LP's or early cd releases. And for the very first time on cd, "The Well-Tempered Synthesizer", which is, in my opinion, the most beautiful electronic creation of classical music ever produced. I hadn't heard this release in a decade and hearing it again now took my breath away.

There are bonuses on each cd, for example, the Little Fugue in G Minor and the alternate second movements for Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. Also, included are some tracks of Wendy Carlos' narrative explaining the evolution of some of the works, overcoming technical problems, etc. It is a delight to hear, in her own charmingly New York accented voice, the genius behind these incredible recordings.

The boxed set also includes an extensive book with photographs detailing how each recording evolved, her production partnership with Rachel Elkind, the evolution of her unique and impressive Moog Synthesizer and recording studio and other personal details providing great insight and interesting reading. A detailed description of the Moog Synthesizer modules, with photographs, is fascinating.

The boxed set is an exciting reward to all the loyal fans who have been waiting for these important recordings to be available on cd. And as one of those long-time fans I can't express my enthusiasm too strongly.

Juozas Rimas Jr said:

Wendy Carlos and Glenn Gould are arguably the two persons most responsible for the growing interest in J. S. Bach during the 2nd half of the 20th century.

I have listened to all the tracks of the Carlos' set with a great interest. What immediately grasps your attention is the perfect separation of voices and the amazing clarity of every sound. The choice of tempos is logical and acceptable. Yet Carlos' sui generis renditions shouldn't be compared to non-electronic classical. While the vigor of Sinfonia to Cantata BWV 29 left me amazed, slower pieces like Air on a G String sounded terribly: I longed for the live, emotional sound of acoustic instruments.

I greatly recommend this recording: it has strengthened my perception of acoustic classical music.

Acknowledgements:Thank you to the following for submitting this recording and for your comments:
  • Juozas Rimas Jr
And from the collection of Jan Hanford.
Date First Submitted:11/27/1999
Purchasing:Available directly from East Side Digital (online purchasing available)
Also see: Suggested Purchasing Sources